Modest Progress

I finally admitted to myself that I was never going to read the backlog of Sunday New York Times Magazines, Book Reviews, and other miscellaneous sections – so I put them in the recycle bin and sent them away. That felt good!

We’re going to Australia next year to see the total eclipse; the tour organizer suggested we ask their travel agent to look for flights, so I sent them a note. While they were working on it, I spent some time with Google Flights and found what seemed like a reasonable routing – the travel agent came up with the same flights, but at a significantly higher cost! I booked direct with the airline.

I found a good candidate for a new 4K display – the Dell P2723QE. Reviews seem positive, and it’s got an integrated hub, which is a plus.

I got my phone’s Lightning port de-clogged at the Apple Store.

I reinstalled Homebrew on my new M2 MacBook Air so that I’m using native versions of programs instead of ones compiled for Intel.

And I even culled and labeled more photos from Africa!

As I said, modest progress.


This morning, I spoke at the Silver Tongued Cats; I had hit the point in my current Path (Presentation Mastery) where I had to present the “Understanding Your Communication Style” project. Again.

I like a lot of what Toastmasters did when they created the Pathways program, and they’ve been improving it since they rolled it out. But Level 2 in the program shows their interest in appealing to corporations – it has a mandatory project on mentoring and most of the paths also require “Understanding Your Communication Style”, “Understanding Your Leadership Style”, or both.

I’d presented “Understanding Your Communication Style” on my first Path, and I wasn’t thrilled with it then; I was even less excited about repeating it, but there was no alternative.

Part of the project requires filling out a 12-question multiple-choice questionnaire which shows your preference for each of four styles: Direct, Supportive, Analytical, and Initiating. Once you’ve filled out the questionnaire, you can’t see your answers – you can only see your scores. I guess that’s to keep you from gaming the program.

I went to bed last night unsure of what I was going to talk about; this morning, I had an idea – what if I compared my scores from 2019 and today and discussed what had changed?

A couple of minutes of fiddling with Excel, and I had a lovely bar graph to use as the visual aid for my speech, and I was ready to go.

I wish I’d recorded the speech, because people liked it – I even won “Best Speaker”!

No photo tonight

The highlight of the day was taking a walk through downtown Campbell with the South Bay Striders this afternoon. It was the first time we’d been able to join one of their walks for months because our trainer moved our workouts to Wednesday, but he’s in Yosemite this week, so we were free.

Look, Ma – no cavities!

I went to the dentist for my regular cleaning this morning, and for the first time in quite a while, I escaped without having anything added to the watchlist of trouble spots in my mouth.

We attached my 4K monitor to Diane’s laptop to see if it was visibly better than the FHD monitor she currently uses, and there was no comparison. It wasn’t even too difficult to squeeze it into the available space. So now we’re in the market for another 4K 27-inch monitor (though a 24-inch monitor would fit better); my existing monitor, an HP Z27, is no longer being made, or I’d just get another one. Suggestions are welcome!


We spent the morning at Shir Hadash for Rosh Hashanah services. The sanctuary was almost full, and we had a few people in the overflow rooms; there were also about 80 people who preferred to be outside and watched the services from the patio. And there were quite a few people who watched the livestreams from home.

The sound was much better than it was just a week or two ago – the Rabbi had separate mikes for his voice and his guitar, which made a big difference. We’ve also installed “Listen Everywhere” to let people use their phones to tap into the feed; it works well if you have wired headphones, but using Bluetooth headphones (or at least AirPods Pro) introduces a quarter-second or so of delay, which means you hear everything twice.

After services and lunch, I finished migrating Diane’s programs and data to the newer laptop, and I was even able to migrate the Windows Pro license. The Windows product key I found in the old computer’s registry didn’t work, but I found the Windows Pro box and it had the key I needed.

This evening, I moved Backblaze to the new machine and had it “inherit backup status” from the old machine – I got a scare when it said “backup complete” and only showed 30 GB as being backed up. I found out how to convince Backblaze to completely rescan the disk, and a few minutes later, the Backblaze server shows that it has 130 GB backed up, including the 100 GB of photos that were missing when I first looked! I’ve even done a test restore of a few photos, just to be sure.

Success is sweet!